Today marks the start of a 162-game, 7 and a half month season of ups and down, highs and lows, streaks and slumps. The 2011 Major League Baseball season will prove to be another great year of baseball and who knows what surprises lay ahead for us, the fans of America’s favorite pastime. Something I really love about Baseball is that only 8 teams make the playoffs and it sticks to its past. I really hope they keep this and do not try to make it a 6-team playoff system. Without further ado, I will give my predictions for the 2011 season…
AL East: Boston Red Sox…sorry Yankee fans, but the additions of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and a healthy Dustin Pedroia will have Beantown buzzing all season long.
AL Central: Chicago White Sox…The Sox have a nasty lineup. They added Adam Dunn to the heart of their order to go along with Alex Rios, Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin. They also have a good pitching staff and should cause a lot of problems in the AL if Jake Peavy can come back from the DL throwing strikes.
AL West: Texas Rangers…These guys are too solid to pick against. Last year’s AL Champs lost in five to the SF G Men in the World Series, but they will be hungry for more as return their dirty lineup led by Josh Hamilton. Their pitching staff took a hit losing Cliff Lee, but I think their hitting will be enough to win the wild wild west.
AL Wild Card: Oakland A’s…The Athletics could be the Giants of this year. The ragtag group that the A’s have put together could be enough to pull off some solid streaks of wins. Their young pitching staff will keep them in most games and the additions of Hideki Matsui, Josh WIllingham and David Dejesus will hopefully revamp their offense.
AL MVP: OF Carl Crawford, Boston Red Sox…this guy’s speed, athleticism, and hitting will lead Boston back to the playoffs in 2011. He was a great addition as the Red Sox beat out the Angels in their pursuit of Crawford. Look for him to hit over .300, 20 hrs, 80 RBIs and a shit ton of stolen bags.
AL Cy Young: P David Price, Tampa Bay Rays…Price throws hard and will keep the Rays in the AL East mix as the season goes on. I like his stuff and if the Rays can maintain their solid play, I like his odds of getting some silverware.
AL Rookie of the Year: C, Jesus Montero, New York Yankees…The 6’4, 225lb beast will look to sub in for Posada and possibly get some looks at DH and has been told by Yankees GM Cashman that he has the chance of becoming NY’s everyday catcher.
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies…Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay? Really? Their pitching staff is unreal and their offense ain’t too shabby either, led by Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals…This division will be close, but I like the Cardinals to take it when it comes down to the wire. They lost Wainwright for the season, but still have Carpenter and Garcia. Their lineup has good speed at the top (Schumaker, Rasmus) to set up the big boys in the middle (Pujols, Holliday, Berkman),
NL West: San Francisco Giants…You heard it. Mark it down. Repeat. The G Men will have a tough division with the Rockies, Dodgers, Diamonbacks and Padres all looking like sexy sleeper picks, but the Giants’ rotation will be too much to handle. Solid starters and a good bullpen will combine nicely with timely hitting led by Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff to win the pennant again.
NL Wild Card: Colorado Rockies...The Rockies are scary. They have a nasty lineup with Tulo and CarGo and I think they could be very dangerous down the road. Their pitching staff is led by Ubaldo Jimenez, who will look to repeat the stuff that he was throwing last year.
NL MVP: C Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants…The young sophomore will look to follow up his 2010 Rookie of the Year campaign with more solid hitting. Although Posey will not have the power numbers of some of the other candidates, I look for him to win the MVP trophy with a high batting average and a high RBI count. Look for the Florida St. alumni to go for .320, 22 HRs, 100 RBIs. He will be the cleanup hitter in a potentially more potent Giants lineup and I like his chances of putting his stamp on the National League.
NL Cy Young: P Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants…The long hair, don’t care stoner will bring back his A-game this year and look to dominate hitters like he did in 2009. The kid balled out in the playoffs, had a decent spring and will lead a solid Giants rotation. I also like the chances of Brian Wilson and Matt Cain to bring back the top pitching trophy.
NL Rookie of the Year: 1B, Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants…Look for the Giants to sweep the awards as rookie first baseman Brandon Belt will be poised to follow in the footsteps of Buster Posey and help lead the G Men back to the playoffs.
WORLD SERIES: SF Giants over Oakland A’s…756sports is keeping it BAY and going with a battle of the bay for the 2011 World Series. The Giants are returning champs and will look to repeat in a tough NL led by by early favorites, the Phillies. In the AL, I think the A’s will pull off a magical run like the Giants of 2010 and make it an all Bay-Area World Series for the 2011 title.
We may have a slight bias here at 756sports, but hey we’re entitled to our own predictions. I look forward to the 2011 season and cannot wait to see the Black and Orange of SF hoisting the trophy outside the Civic Center in November…Beat LA.